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The Spiritualist

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  1,156 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Sometimes truth is the greatest illusion of all.

In a cold January morning in 1856, Evelyn Atherton’s husband is found murdered after attending an exclusive séance. Having “married up” into New York society, Evie herself is the immediate suspect. Ostracized and vulnerable, she knows that to clear her name she must retrace her husband’s last steps. And so, joining forces wi
Paperback, 420 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,156 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Talulah Mankiller
Apr 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
THE SPIRITUALIST was the fourth story that I have read by Megan Chance and a trip back to 1857's New York City. This was such a hard review to write; I was tempted to give it three stars and skip sharing my actual thoughts about the book. I will have to be very careful not to give too much away.

The back cover indicates it is a cold morning in January 1856 but the beginning of each chapter indicates it is 1857. Evelyn and Peter Atherton's three-year marriage was at a stand-still. A lawyer, Peter
Sarah Mac
Oh, how I love when lit-fic marries a trashy historical novel. 💕 Combine that with classic 19th-c sensational themes like murder & spiritualism, & yours truly was happier than a pig in mud.

My only real complaint is Evie's book-long naïveté re: the root of her husband's marital issues. As a rough-side-of-town child whose father was a PI who kept many seedy informants to assist his work -- & who also raised her rather liberally, at least by 1850s standards -- it shouldn't have taken the entire bo
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Spiritualist is a delightful romp of a story about murder, seances and the supernatural with Victorian/Gothic atmosphere.
Evie has "married up" when she becomes Mrs. Peter Atherton, but not long afterward he is killed and she is the main suspect. His influential family is ready to see her charged and punished for his murder and believe she has done it for his money.
Dorothy Bennett is a wealthy old woman intent on contacting her deceased sons through seances. When Dorothy discovers Evie's s
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was downright gripping. I knew I was being conned and I totally didn't care because I wanted to know how it ended. Okay, so Evelyn Atherton's husband is obsessed with this medium and takes Evelyn to see him. That night he disappears and Evelyn's convinced something awful has happened but everybody's telling her she's nuts and in the 1850's a woman might as well be window dressing or a pretty canary or something if she's in society so she gets wholly ignored. Then he actually DOES show ...more
Paula Cappa
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well written and suspenseful, this supernatural intrigue is quite a seductive little murder mystery in New York Society during the 1850s. Evie Atherton is a charming protagonist that kept me reading. I really liked her, although at times, she seemed oddly naïve for such an intelligent woman. You can really sink into this story: moody, haunting, and with the historical set, this read is a true escape. While this is not really a who-done-it (the murderer is no big surprise), the best part of this ...more

** 4.5 Stars **
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Reminds one of Daphne Du Maurier's chillier romantic suspense -- even the "good" people are manipulative. Nifty historical background and just a touch of supernatural spice the gothic plot. ...more
Patrick Solomon
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Spiritualist by Megan Chance was not my favorite book that I have read this year. I found it confusing and it didn't seem like it made sense in some places. I did find it interesting how Megan Chance could incorporate murder, the supernatural, and love all in one short book, however. ...more
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it
In the end, I was disappointed in this book. I was excited about it early on and spent every available moment reading it but by around the middle, it kind of lost its power. At that point, I kept reading because it wasn't so bad that I wanted to give up on it but rather I wanted to just get the reading of it over so that I could go on to something I might like more. The main character, Evelyn Atherton (Evie to her friends) was a middle class young woman, the only child of an investigator and a w ...more
Dec 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Hutchinson
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm not sure what to think about this it a mystery? Well, if it is, I had it figured out about half-way through. Is it an expose of the table rapping spiritualism so popular in the late 19th century? first I thought it was but that also changed about half-way through. It really doesn't fit into any genre except general fiction with a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure.

A young woman marries "above her station" into a wealthy and powerful family but her husband is stran
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys historical novels.
I do not read many historical novels, but a few years ago a friend raved about An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance. I read the book and just loved it! Soon after I read Susannah Morrow, also by Megan Chance, (Salem Witchcraft) and was also pleased.

Her latest book The Spiritualist was released in May 2008, and it was excellent. Set in 1857 in New York City, I could not put it down. From the paranormal fun of séances, spiritualists, murders, and dangerous secrets galore, this was a great read. Me
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Whereas the first chapter was interesting and promising, what follows made me think that this is a terrible, terrible book. The heroine is so passive I felt like slapping her, and the identity of the murderer is so obvious that you can guess it from chapter one, provided that you've read the sinopsis too. YES, IT'S REALLY THAT OBVIOUS!
I don't normally bother writing negative reviews, but I can't stand heroines who claim to be smart and intelligent and then behave like damsels in distress / are
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Spiritualist was a very fun read, and the perfect book for October! Set in New York City in the mid 1800's, it follows the story of a woman who was born into the working class, but married a very wealthy and prominent man. A few years into their marriage, he is suddenly murdered after attending a seance. When she is accused of murder, our protagonist Evelyn decides to investigate in order to find the real killer.

Full of spirits, secrets, and a bit of romance this is definitely an enjoyable
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea LaVere
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the kind of book you read in your college English class; the kind that is chock full of potential analysis worthy of essay papers. “Spiritualist” was brilliantly written with its plot and characters and captivates you from the beginning.

Throughout each chapter, it had me bouncing between different theories (which I was ecstatic to know a few of them were spot on!) and wondering more about 19th century New York City.

The overarching themes are honesty versus lies and the many faces that p
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I do love a good historical mystery, especially if it has a ghost story as part of it, and even more especially if it's really well written. The Spiritualist is a winner on all counts. The mystery is intriguing; I didn't figure out who the murderer was. The background on spiritualism, which was such a fad in America during the novel's time frame (1850s) and the use of opiate drugs which they thought of as fairly harmless, was very interesting. The writing is gorgeous, slightly old-fashioned in t ...more
Debra Reedy
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read several Megan Chance books and I have to say that this book is one of my personal favorites. Her books seem to share a common theme which I enjoy: the main character is usually a very intelligent female but she is forced by society to conform to what a woman should be by her family, friends and husband. She is naive to the ways of world and finds herself being taken advantage of at every turn. She quickly realizes that she must be the one to save herself and turn the tables on those th ...more
Kayla Heffner
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be entertaining and if you keep a light heart about it, it can be enjoyable. I have some issues with her “abilities” in parts, and a little slow in the middle section in terms of plot development, but the end few chapters kept me pushing to read on ad slow the mystery. I also liked the descriptions of 1850s New York and society.
Sarah Blair
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Spiritualist is a great read!

I devoured this book. It was such a thrilling story. I had too much figured out too soon, but that did not ruin the excitement of the story. I loved the characters so much and enjoyed seeing their growth, especially Evie. I would recommend this book to anyone. I am a huge fan of Megan Chance now and I am now buying every book she writes.
S franke
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good

I enjoyed this book so much. Evil with her resistance to spiritual
Mediums is the perfect vehicle and lovely plot twist that keeps you guessing. The characters are perfect and the plot was
Such a treat! I particularly liked the way Evie is drawn to a man she feels is untrustworthy and her stumble into spiritual medium.
Just delightful!
Susan E
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing Suspence

I feel this book earns a 4.3, maybe higher. The Spiritualist: A Novel kept my interest throughout. The suspense was intriguing. The characters were colorful, some hateful. Evelyn...who can she really trust?
I definitely recommend this book. Be aware, some racy moments.
This is the second book I’ve read by Megan Chance. I have enjoyed both.
Earl Strumpell
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing twists and turns. Most enjoyable read!

I highly Recommend this book to anyone who likes a mystery filled with intrigue, suspense, twists and turns in the plot. Very well written. intelligent, witty and provocative.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and evocative. While part of the mystery is easy to guess, the rest is nicely fleshed out. Complete with historically sensitive details and a bit of a twist at the end. A great read!
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible story!

This is not at all what I thought and there are some incredible twists and turns that completely got me! I couldn't out it down and was so engrossed that I gave up a night's rest to finish it 8-))
Connie Funk
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent !

I never wanted to put it down.
Great story, great characters, and mystery at every turn.
I have just about read everyone of Megan Chance's books and never been disappointed.
Kathy Henson

Figured it out too soon. Otherwise, not bad . Nice for a quick weekend read with nothing better to do.
Sally Collins
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many twists and turns in this book. The 1857 setting made these twists different from today's mysteries. This is a good read. ...more
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Megan Chance is the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of several novels. Booklist calls her writing “Provocative and haunting.” Her books have been chosen by Amazon's Book of the Month, Borders Original Voices and IndieNext. A former television news photographer with

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